Building Emotional Resilience

What is Emotional Resilience?

Emotional Resilience refers to the ability of an individual to adapt dynamically and positively to challenging and traumatic circumstances. By contrast a person who is less resilient responds to challenge by feeling helpless, isolated, and unhappy. Emotional resilience is characterised by the ability to sustain wellbeing whilst at the same time trying to negotiate territory which impacts upon their psychological, social, cultural, and physical health. Resilient individuals also appear more physically and emotionally robust and experience better health than their less resilient counterparts.

People who are resilient take a realistic and optimistic approach to their circumstances which enable them to problem solve effectively. By using “realistic optimism”, resilient individuals can identify aspects within their control that they can alter to improve their conditions and those that they cannot change which may require a altering their mindset.

By applying Positive Psychology, it is possible to develop resilience that can be used to re-frame difficult situations thereby empowering individuals to take greater responsibility for their own wellbeing in the following ways:

Self-awareness - being able to understand personal feelings and develop coping mechanisms.

Self-management - exercising self-control and being adaptable.

Social awareness - the ability to understand the social context of others’ lives Relationship management - being able to influence, inspire and assist others whilst managing conflict.

Features of Emotional Resilience:

  1. Demonstrating a healthy attitude to dealing with stress.

  2. Having effective problem-solving skills.

  3. A positive attitude to seeking help where necessary.

  4. Being confident in one’s ability to cope and manage emotions.

  5. Having a network of social support.

  6. A sense of connectedness with loved ones.

  7. Ability to share deeply personal traumatic experiences in trusted relationships.

  8. A sense that spiritual wellbeing is important.

  9. Identifying oneself as a survivor rather than a victim.

  10. Ability to help those going through problems.

  11. Learning from and finding meaning in difficult experiences.

Wellbeing Tips (source American Psychological Association)

  1. Maintaining good relationships with close family members, friends, and others.

  2. Avoid seeing crises or stressful events as insurmountable.

  3. Accept circumstances that cannot be changed.

  4. Develop realistic goals and move towards them.

  5. Take decisive actions in adverse situation.

  6. Look for opportunities of self discovery after a struggle with loss.

  7. Developing self confidence.

  8. Keep a long-term perspective and consider the stressful event in a broader context.

  9. Maintaining a hopeful outlook, expecting good things, and visualising what is wished.

  10. Taking care of one’s mind and body, exercising regularly, paying attention to one’s own needs and feelings, and engaging in relaxing activities that one enjoys.

  11. Learning from the past and maintaining flexibility and balance in life.

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